Thursday, January 29, 2009

Republican Death Spiral?

I wrote my new congressmen the other day.

I asked him how could he be so stupid. He voted to not delay the digital TV conversion.

I am telling all my friends and relatives that the reason their TVs won't work soon is Republicans like him falling in lockstep in votes that harm lower income folks and the elderly. They voted to not delay the digital TV rollover despite the fact that 2 million plus rebate coupons have not yet gone out.

The leadership of the GOP thinks this issue only effects the poor, minorities and the elderly. Those are not their priorities. As Nate Silver reminds us:
This measure was approved unanimously by the Senate; every Senate Republican gave it the green light. But 155 out of 178 House Republicans voted against it, which resulted in the measure's defeat since a two-thirds majority would have been required for passage under the House's suspension of the rules.
Despite a very popular new president and major poll support, House Republican also voted unanimously against the tax cuts and the stimulus spending package. Voting against tax cuts - to make a point that they want to scream NO.

I agree with Nate, self-described conservative Republicans represent only about 20 percent of the population but the GOP leadership are following the Rove tactic of appealing only to this base and putting their future in jeopardy. This creates its own dynamic. Hopefully, as Nate suggests, a death spiral.
Thus the Republicans, arguably, are in something of a death spiral. The more conservative, partisan, and strident their message becomes, the more they alienate non-base Republicans. But the more they alienate non-base Republicans, the fewer of them are left to worry about appeasing. Thus, their message becomes continually more appealing to the base -- but more conservative, partisan, and strident to the rest of us. And the process loops back upon itself.
The GOP is down to only FIVE states where they have a majority of the voters supporting their party over Democrats, according to a recent huge Gallup poll. Lets see if they can hit TWO by 2010.

Nate at FiveThirtyEight has updated the GOP Death Spiral post with a graphic of the new House.

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